Tattoos and Hepatitis C: What Are the Risks?
Unsterile tattooing may transmit the bloodborne hepatitis C virus (HCV), and though it’s unclear exactly what percentage of individuals with the virus got it via tattooing, a study last year found that individuals with hep C were nearly four times more likely to report using a tattoo, even when other key risk factors were taken into consideration. What do you have to know to avoid getting or giving hep C during tattooing? We researched six frequent questions on the subject and discovered what could be some astonishing outcomes.
How do hep C be spread through tattooing?
Hepatitis C may be spread in case poor infection control procedures are utilized. Make sure that you are visiting a certified, professional tattoo parlor. When you get a tattoo, then your skin has been bathed by a needle and then injected with small amounts of ink. Make sure that the needle is coming from a fresh, sterile package, that the tattoo artist would be wearing latex gloves, and that all other piercing equipment has been sterilized.
What percentage of all people with hep C do it through tattooing?
There’s not enough research to ascertain the percentage of individuals with hepatitis who got it through tattoos. But a recent study found that individuals with hep C have been near 3 times more likely to report using a tattoo, even when other risk factors were accounted for. (Hepatitis C is transmitted mostly via injection drug use or blood transfusions provided before 1992.)
Other studies have demonstrated no signs of a heightened risk in infection if tattoos were awarded in a expert parlor with appropriate infection control. If the tattoo has been done in a prison or non-professional setting, then the risk has been significantly greater.
How do I protect myself from hep C when getting a tattoo?
1. Figure out if the tattoo designs and artist are reliable. (Licensing and certification laws vary by state.) 1 way to do this is to opt for a parlor where people you know got tattoos and had a fantastic experience.
2. Request tattoo artists what approaches they use to sterilizing their gear and how frequently they get it done. Their equipment ought to be examined and serviced routinely.
3. Autoclaves (sterilizing machines) should always be utilized. And new sterile needles must always be taken out of the autoclave bag in front of you.
4. Artists must wash their hands before and after putting a fresh set of latex gloves. This will also occur whenever the artist leaves or returns into the work area.
5. Things that comes in contact with blood and can’t be sterilized like gloves, ink caps, cotton swabs, additives, soap bottles, paper towels, etc. must be disposed of promptly following tattooing and labeled as a biohazard.
6. Ink- or water-based products ought to be thrown out after they’re used and should not be put back in the container they came from.
7. Surfaces and other areas the artist uses to work should be cleaned regularly with a disinfecting cleaner.
I have a tattoo already. What are the chances I have HCV and don’t know it?
There’s no evidence that there’s an increased probability of hep C in case you’d your tattoo done in a professional tattoo parlor that practices good infection control. If the tattoo was done on your own, by a friend or in prison, the threat is a lot higher, states Michael Duncan, clinical director of VOCAL NY (Voices Of Neighborhood Activists Leaders), a statewide grassroots organization that assembles power one of low-income individuals impacted by HIV/AIDS, the drug war and mass incarceration among its major efforts entails hepatitis C prevention, care and treatment.
Your hep C risk is also greater if you have the tattoo before the early 1990s, when people became aware of hepatitis C. Blood tests for hep C did not come out until 1992. (That s why 75% of individuals living with hep C are baby boomers people born between 1945 and 1965 they contracted the virus before it was even found.) Many people with hep C don’t feel any symptoms until years after infection, so it’s important to get tested if you suspect you might be at risk.
When I find out I have hep C, then what should I do?
You should speak instantly with a doctor who specializes in hepatitis or liver disease. To locate a person, click here. You will likely need evaluations to estimate your hepatitis viral load (the amount of hep C virus in your blood) along with the disease s progression. Many people clear the virus on their own, without any meds. One in five individuals subjected to hep C don’t become chronically infected, Duncan states. If that is the case, you will only have to get take precautions to make sure that you aren’t reinfected. To put it differently, you don’t become resistant to hep C.
If you do have hep C, then know that it may be cured. In the past year, hepatitis C treatment has advanced considerably, with fewer negative effects, shorter treatment times and also much higher levels of success, and these advances will likely continue in the subsequent year. Utilize a caregiver who will help you decide whether handling the virus now or down the line is reasonable.
I have hepatitis C. Could I still receive a tattoo?
Yes, Duncan States. Disclosing to a artist is completely up to you, (but) they must always assume their client is optimistic and take the necessary precautions.